Okay so as of right now, I am currently stuck at home and on the couch because I caught some stupid cold. On the bright side though, reading blogs and creating my own has been an amazing distraction! :) Today has been pretty uneventful so far, given the circumstances... but it's given me a chance to start planning for summer time! I don't know about you, but i am READY for some of that warm weather and gorgeous sunshine.
Something about being out in the sun with nothing but blue skies above me gives me a sense of complete relaxation. I've been thinking about summer and all the things I want to do or all the things that I could do! I've come up with lists of things, considering the fact that once the summer is over, it's goodbye sunshine and hello umbrellas! (For anyone that doesn't already know, I'll be moving up to Oregon at the end of August for school) Anyway! Moving on. Because I've had a bunch of free time to myself, I've also been cruising the web and finding new desserts that I'd like to try and make sometime. For instance...
From: Martha Stewart's Pastry Recipes
- Pate a Choux
- Pastry Cream for Eclairs
- Vegetable oil, for plastic wrap
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch (Ateco No. 806) tip with pate a choux batter; pipe out oblong shapes, about 3 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide, onto prepared baking sheets at 2-inch intervals. Gently run a fork dipped in water along each top, making straight lines to ensure even rising.
3. Cover one baking sheet with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator. Transfer the second sheet to the oven. Bake 10 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. Turn off oven; prop door open slightly to let steam escape. Allow eclairs to dry in oven until centers are damp but no wet dough remain (test by cutting into the center of one), about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Raise heat back to 425 degrees and repeat process with remaining batch. If serving immediately, fill eclairs while still warm so they can take more cream; if filling at a later time, insert a skewer into one end, and move it around to expand opening for cream; set aside.
4. Transfer pastry cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth and softened. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and filling tip (Ateco No. 230) with pastry cream. Insert tip into one end of each eclair; fill.
5. To make the glaze, heat cream in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate in a small bowl. Let stand until chocolate is melted, stir until smooth. Dip top of each eclair into glaze; let excess drip off before turning over. Transfer to a wire rack to allow glaze to set. Serve, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 day.
Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes
From: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 zucchini (10 ounces), coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Cream Cheese Frosting
2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in nuts.
3. In another bowl, combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, and mix just until combined (do not overmix).
4. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
5. Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes; turn cupcakes out, right side up, and cool completely. Meanwhile, make frosting. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread frosting on cupcakes. The frosted cupcakes are best eaten within 1 day.
Clearly, I must have a sweet tooth going on right now.